October 30, 2013

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggety Jog

Posted by Cathy Heck

We’re home from Quilt Market, and although we loved every minute, the term, jiggety, is probably a good one to describe our sojourn. We were stuck on the Katy Freeway, just outside of Houston, for 4 hours! Thank goodness we all like each other!

But once we finally arrived, it was so much fun to see our wonderful clients and friends. And thankfully, we made it just in the nick of time to give a little tutorial about Cuteville County Fair, our new collection for quilt stores, and about the way Ellen and I work together from our studios in Austin and Berkeley.

We loved meeting all of the quilt store owners … here’s a little video snippet of the fun.

When we arrived at the Henry Glass booth, we were delighted to see another beautiful Cuteville quilt made by Jean Anne Sharrai.  It felt like a shoemaker’s elf had been stitching through the night! If you are needing a fun and easy-to-make play or picnic quilt, here is a free download with the instructions for this pattern. (We were able to bring it back to the studio so we could take pictures for you.)

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We were intrigued by the way Jean Anne backed the quilt, too–using bits and pieces from the panel.  It gave it a vintage feel of days gone by when a quilt really was made from scraps of this and that.

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And if you look very closely, you can see that the actual quilting part has its own story: paisley swirls for the background reflecting the bandana border, and cloud stitches mimicking the clouds behind the ferris wheel. Thank you Jean Anne for stitching up some surprises for us.

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We will be back with a few more Cuteville DIY projects that you can make.  I know you can do it, because I did it during my learn-to-sew-right-now month. Cheerio from Cuteville.

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October 26, 2013

To Market, To Market, Jiggity Jig

Posted by Cathy Heck

We are wondering how many sewing machines were making the same whrrrrrrr ours were making this week before International Quilt Market .  And how many floors looked like this?

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We will have so much to share when we return from Houston.  Most importantly, I (Cathy) will be able to demonstrate that you, too, can learn to sew in one month!  It’s true.  I even learned to make my own piping, so I am feeling like a sewing stud. If I can do it, you can do it!

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When we received our beautiful samples of the new Cuteville County Fair fabric, which we created for Henry Glass Fabrics, we pulled out our sewing machines, and I pulled out my sewing machine manual.  I made a little quilt, and Ellen made a big quilt. Thankfully, Ellen taught herself to sew in the 5th grade when it was clear to her that sewing was not in her mother’s skill set. We will show the quilts at market and the big quilt even has a free downloadable pattern on the Henry Glass site.

Here is Julianna pretending to be a quilt model in the back yard on Ellen’s big quilt.

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Come see us at the Henry Glass booth at 2pm today (Saturday), where we will be sharing a bit about the way we work together from our studios in Austin and Berkeley. Even though I have been designing for fabric companies for ten years, it’s more fun than ever now, because Ellen and I create the collections together. Also, we are bringing a gift for the first 30 visitors–a DIY kit which includes everything you need to make a fun personalized embroidered pillow using the Cuteville fabrics … I bet you know a Best-In-Show baby that needs one!

Photos below are of Julianna making excellent kits. Thank you Jules, you are definitely the Blue Ribbon studio elf of Cuteville County.

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See you in Houston.  And, for those who will be following the show through the blogosphere, we’ll be sure to report back next week.  Off to Cuteville.

 

March 29, 2013

A Spoonflower Easter Egg Contest Surprise

Posted by Cathy Heck

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Before the Easter bunny arrives on Sunday, we thought you might like to see one more painted egg, and this one is served to you on fabric. We are delighted that Ellen’s Lithuanian Easter Egg pattern was just voted as one of the top ten winners at Spoonflower!  Lithuanian Easter eggs are similar to the Pysanky-style eggs you have seen in our previous posts, but they seem a bit more refined, usually dyed with only one color, while preserving the original white color of the egg. Each one is a delicate gem, and now you can buy yards of them!

Spoonflower is offering fat quarter bundles that include all ten winners or you can also buy it directly from the Cathy Heck Studio Spoonflower page. Why not get an early start for next year’s Easter frocks?! (I just said that so I could use the word ‘frocks’ which is so underused these days!) Happy Easter!

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March 19, 2013

QuiltCon Debuts in Austin, Texas USA

Posted by Cathy Heck

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You might have noticed that our blogging has been a little bit sparce lately.  Here are the reasons:  (1) Cathy received a sewing machine from Santa and is learning to sew during her blogging hours. More on that later.  (2) Ellen’s blogging time has been filled recently with a move to a location around the corner from Berkeley’s Gourmet Ghetto.  Deliciously more on that later.   (3) Ellen and Cathy attended QuiltCon in Austin, Texas.  More on that right now!

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Now, about QuiltCon: oh my goodness and wow!  Ellen joined me in Austin for a weekend of quilting awe.  This is the first year that the Modern Quilt Guild has introduced this wonderful event, and happily, they chose Austin, Texas for thousands of modern quilters to gather. It included classes, lectures, and a juried quilt show. When I registered in the fall, I didn’t even know how to sew.  We were originally planning to attend to see the fun projects that are made with our fabrics, but as a new “official stitcher,” I had a completely different experience.  We were able to look at every single little stitch very, very closely.   (No kidding, there was but a thimble-length between our noses and each quilt.)

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Not only did we enjoy the juried show, but a separate group of quilts by Denyse Schmidt was also on display. “Modern quilting” is a little bit different than the kinds of quilts one imagines when thinking of traditional quilting. Lots of solid color and negative space, wonky shapes, and creative, improvisational designs. To attend a Modern Quilt Guild show feels a little bit like attending a show at the MOMA, only in this case, the artwork is made of fabric and thread.

The show was meticulously coordinated. The modern color palette used for all of the pre-show advertising was replayed throughout the show with signage, literature and even the hand-crafted award ribbons, shown below.

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With all the Modern Quilt Guilds (MQG) in town, an extra treat for us was that several members from Ellen’s very own Bay Area MQG came to Austin, and with their friendly personalities combined with adorable Australian accents, they were most certainly the stars of the night when they took a break from quilting to go boot-scootin’ at the Broken Spoke!

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The next day, we toured the main lecture hall, where the walls were adorned with quilts created by Modern Quilt Guilds across the country, for the Block Challenge using the QuiltCon color story. The blocks were sent ahead of time, and twenty were chosen to make a quilt that was selected for one lucky winner. The remainder of the blocks were then made into many amazing one-of-a-kind quilts. Following the show, all of the quilts were given to the Austin Children’s Shelter as a way of saying thank you to the city of Austin. I wish I could see a photo of a room in the Children’s Shelter filled with these beautiful modern works of art wrapped around little Austinites.

Below are the required fabric colors from the QuiltCon site, and an example of a challenge block by Heather Davidson of the Portland Modern Quilt Guild.

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We attended several lectures, and enjoyed every single one of them.  A highlight for us was to see our friend, Laurie Wisbrun, speaking with a panel discussing the business of fabric design from the perspective of designers, as well as manufacturers.  The lectures covered a wide range of topics from David Butler’s photography secrets to Anna Maria Horner’s design process to the keynote speech by Denyse Schmidt, sharing her constantly evolving creative journey.  But interestingly, although every presentation was different, they all resounded with one similar message: Be True to Yourself.  We marched out of QuiltCon rejuvenated and ready to draw, paint, mouse and stitch.  And, of course, to be true to ourselves.

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And in keeping with the lesson, we decided that to be truly true to ourselves, we needed to top off our last day with a delicious crepe from the very authentic crepe restaurant, Le Cafe Crepe, across the street from the convention center.  Quilts topped off with crepes … it just doesn’t get any better than that!

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November 3, 2012

…here a quilt, there a quilt, everywhere a quilt quilt…

Posted by Ellen Heck

We’re back from Quilt Market in Houston, which was a quiet blast!  (Quiet because all the quilts muffle so much sound that we always feel like it’s an oddly peaceful trade show considering how many people are walking around.)

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We had two new fabric collections coming out under the CathyLoo brand for David Textiles this season.  Here are some fun product shots of “Here-a-Hug, There-a-Hug” which is a bright and playful juvenile collection loosely based on the song, “Old MacDonald had a farm.”  We loved the above knapsack made from “Farmyard Friends” in green and “Counting Sheep” in red.  And below are two close-ups of the quilt made from all of the fabrics in the collection.

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This all-over “Counting Sheep” pattern is so much fun:

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And finally, here is the pattern for the whole quilt designed by Heidi Pridemore:
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It was a lot of fun to see everyone and get excited about the next season of fabrics coming out of the studio!  Now back to the drawing board – with a quick sketch here, and painted flower there, here a toss, there a panel, everywhere some future flannel…  (We might have stayed up a bit late last night working on those new designs…)

Have a great weekend!

Love,

The Studio

 

July 20, 2012

The Butterfly Flutter Quilt

Posted by Ellen Heck

Since we received the Shady Grove sample yardage in the nick of time, I was able to squeeze hints of it into this little quilt for a dear friend.  While trying to decide what to call it, it was fun to discover that a group of butterflies can be called (according to the net) a lek, swarm, rabble, kaleidoscope, or flutter.  Flutter was my favorite, but kaleidoscope was close second.

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The leafy background pattern is the handy dandy lime fern leaf from the Emma Collection by Newcastle Fabrics.

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May 17, 2012

Little Robot: A Quilt Magazine Celebrity

Posted by Cathy Heck

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For immediate release: the mild-mannered Little Robot and his loyal pup, Gif, have been featured in … not one, but two well-known quilting magazines. The lovable stars are featured in Better Home & Garden’s Quilts & More Spring 2012 issue on an adorable, yet super-easy quilt made from the Bot Buddies® flannels by Blue Hill Fabrics. The amazing team, Joanie Holton and Melanie Greseth of SewQuiltCraft.com created the quilt and you can even buy the Toy Box Quilt Kit from their site and make one of your own.


Another beautiful quilt designed with the Bot Buddies® cotton appears now in the Simple Sewing & Quilts Spring 2012 issue. Again, Melanie and Joanie (the real stars of this story, but don’t tell Little Robot) designed a playful quilt featuring the TurtleBots and FishBots border panels. Little Robot himself doesn’t actually show up on this quilt, but he is humble and understands that he has to share the limelight with his other bot buddies.) If you would like to be the star of your next baby shower, you can buy the Go Fish Kit from SewQuiltCraft.com, and whip up this great project.


If you are headed to Kansas City for the Spring International Quilt Market, be sure to stop by and see the Bot Buddies® fabrics in person. However, Little Robot will not be signing autographed copies of the quilt magazines until he learns his ABCs.

January 6, 2012

The Bot-Bubbly Sea, A Blogger’s Choice Challenge

Posted by Ellen Heck

Little Bluebell, a fellow East Bay Modern Quilter, recently led me to Quokka Quilts’ blogger’s choice challenge – a spin-off of The Fat Quarter Shop’s blogger’s choice bundle series.  It’s always so much fun to make one’s own collection out of prints from many different groups, so I thought it was a great idea to open up the opportunity to everybody.  The rules: pick 12 prints and 3 solids and put together a collage to post here by January 15th and you’ll be eligible to win your own bundle!  I wanted to make one that featured our Micro Fish pattern from Bot Buddies cotton because I just love that print, so I picked the navy colorway and expanded on the navy/blue/teal/green theme from there:

Speaking of Micro Fish, here we are admiring the actual cotton:

The fabrics in this bundle from top left to bottom right are:

1. Hall of Fame Game Plaid Sage

2. Hall of Fame Game Plaid Blue

3. Bot Buddies Green Doodle Dots

4. Hall of Fame Game Ticking Sage

5. Baby Safari Aqua Splish Splash

6. Bot Buddies Blue Doodle Dots

7. Bot Buddies Blue Bot Fishies (Micro Fish)

8. American Jane Baby Boy Pindot

9. Get Together Gray Flock of Birds

10. Mod Tod Blue Waving Stars

11. Fairy Tale Friends Aqua Pin Dot

12. Zoophabet Blue Packed Alphabet (Alphabet Soup)

13. Kona Cotton Aloe

14. Kona Cotton Blueberry

15. Kona Cotton Honey Dew

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December 20, 2011

Just add stripes: quilt #2 for 2011

Posted by Ellen Heck

Here is the finally finished ladder quilt that has been 90% complete for the past 8 months – barely squeaking by the finished-in-2011 deadline.  This quilt started in the sweltering summer, and I can remember pinning it in shorts with all the windows and doors open to bring in as much breeze as possible.  Now we can actually use it!

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You might notice that the stripes are not straight.  The blocks were originally designed for a quilt that would look more like this, but when it was all spread out on the floor, the colors were not contrasting enough to pull it off – hence the simplified design.  Thanks to my East Bay Modern Quilt Guild friends for teaching me how to feature this little selvage swatch detail – it’s my favorite part:

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Wishing you all a warm holiday season and lots of finished projects!

 

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November 3, 2011

Miles of Quilts at International Quilt Market: Part 2

Posted by Cathy Heck

When the doors opened to the International Quilt Market in Houston, one of the first booths one beheld was that of Newcastle Fabrics. There, our Jumpin’ Monkeys collection was ready to jump onto flannel jammies and blankies and the sweet Emma collection looked as fresh as a pink-and-green bouquet.

On the walls were all the pieces made just days ago by our Austin elves, showing off the DIY possibilities. We were delighted to see our work and our friends at Newcastle. Here we are (photo below) with Dan Weidmuller, chief of everything at Newcastle.

Jumpin’ Monkeys is a new flannel group scheduled to be in the stores in November. Before market, we received a few small pieces of strike-off material to check for color. We decided to try to make a few monkey projects, one of which would be flannel jammies, but we only had enough fabric to make one blue leg and one brown leg, which is the original reason that the pants bottoms (below) became “two-toned.” BUT, after all was said and sewn, we decided these play pants were downright adorable. I guess you could say small strike-offs are the mother of invention!

I also love the matching appliqué monkey that Nancy added to the onesie. This is so easy and packs a great “wow, you did that” factor.

Here is something else that happens when sewing with tiny bits of soft flannel strike-offs: a toddler ragland jacket that is monkey-blue-stripe on the front and monkey-green-stripe on the back. It’s like wearing the whole collection in one tiny jacket!

We can’t leave Jumpin’ Monkeys without showing you the fastest quick quilt you ever did see (made by Deborah Elliott) … all you have to do is follow the outlines of the animals on the panel and it looks like you slaved for weeks piecing and appliquéing this soft quilt. Even the striped border is part of the one yard of fabric that you will buy to make the quilt top! (You may want to add some edging as we did with the palm leaves fabric (see second photo below), but it’s cute even without it. It might depend on what time the baby shower is tomorrow!)

And, if you have questions about anything fun and new at Newcastle, here is the go-to-gal for the answers, Cheryl Jukich. She is new to the Newcastle team and she is just adorable and full of energy … even when we saw her after many hours of trade show standing!

While Jumpin’ Monkeys was hoppin’ off the wall, the Emma collection was displayed nearby and it was shining in its own preppy cute way. Since we already introduced you to lots of Emma in an earlier post, we’ll just share some pictures of her cute self on display at the show. Photo left: Ellen in front of the quilt she made with the Emma strike-offs. (And her very first quilt ever!) Photo right: Cathy and Ellen in front of the sassy Emma dress made by Nancy Keirns. The great thing about Emma is that it can be made into a baby bumper or a tween jumper. It’s for little bitty girls, or their mamas.

While we love to visit with the companies that make our fabric, we double-love to visit with shop owners who sell our fabric! Here we are below with a fellow mother-daughter team, Judy Fenton and Megan Wilson who run Millcreek Sewing & Fabric in Erie, Pennsylvania. While they were gathering samples in balmy Houston, Texas, I believe several inches of snow fell on their shop in Pennsylvania. A nice early reminder of the importance of a warm, snuggly quilt!

Although, we don’t have any weather close to a white winter here in Austin, we definitely caught the quilting bug while we were in Houston. I hope our little adventure in the aisles of Quilt Market have you all quiltified, too. We’ll keep you posted as we learn of the stores that will have Emma and Jumpin’ Monkeys in hand. Enjoy your November, and have fun quilting, whether you are wearing flip-flops or snow boots!

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